Kansas City hitman killed barbershop owner, prosecutor says

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SAN DIEGO -- A man accused of ambushing and fatally shooting a barbershop owner at his business in the Oak Park neighborhood of San Diego last spring pleaded not guilty Monday to a murder charge and was ordered held on $10 million bail.

Deputy District Attorney Sophia Roach told Judge Kathleen Lewis that Peter Johnson -- an alleged member of a well-organized criminal organization -- came to San Diego a few days before May 9 to carry out the murder of 32-year-old Lamar Canady. A motive was not disclosed. "The murder was well orchestrated and well planned out. Mr. Canady was ambushed in his business.

Roach said 14 casings were found at the crime scene on Redwood Street, with most of the shots hitting the victim, a father of four.  "Of the 15 casings found around the body of Mr. Canady, most of the missiles hit Mr. Canady directly - targeting the head area."

Those facts caused Canady's aunt to shout out that Johnson doesn't deserve bail and should continue to be locked up.

“I'm angry, I'm mad, and this was intentional, this was an intentional killing of someone that was loved, that was a father, that was everything to us,'' Audrey Brooks said outside court. “I'm sorry for what I said because I'm a woman of God, but at the same time, for what he did to my nephew, he does not deserve to be bailed out. He needs to sit in prison and think about what he done, and why he did it.''

Roach told the judge Johnson, 49, used an alias and entered the country illegally and had access to significant amounts of cash, making him a flight risk. Bail was set at $10 million dollars.  He faces 50 years to life in prison if convicted.

Last month, co-defendant Ian Patrick Guthrie, 38, pleaded not guilty to a murder charge and was ordered held on $5 million bail.

Roach told the judge that Guthrie -- an alleged member of a high-level international drug trafficking operation -- acted as a lookout in the planned and premeditated killing of Canady.

The prosecutor said Guthrie had a 1997 conviction from New York for manslaughter, which was originally charged as a robbery and murder.

Guthrie was arrested Aug. 27 in Rancho Penasquitos. Johnson was tracked down in his hometown of Kansas City, Missouri, and was recently extradited to San Diego to face the charges.

A status conference was set for Wednesday and a preliminary hearing for Sept. 19.


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